This little piece is an AU exploration of the dichotomy in post-hijacked Peeta's psyche in relation to Katniss. Who am I kidding? This is mostly smutty naughtiness. Who can resist a chained up Peeta in Tigress' basement in the Capitol? Avert your eyes elsewhere if you're not into that, or you're too young to indulge. Do hope you enjoy!

I own nothing but my own typos and other errors, both factual and grammatical.


Part 1 - Real/Not Real

Rage. Burning, head-on-fire rage. A lot of the time, I hate Katniss Everdeen. Not a popular emotion to have lately, unless you happen to be President Snow or one of his minions, one of his mutts. Come to think of it, I guess I am a former mutt of the Capitol, though former is a rather fine distinction. Well, considering I'm now on the side of the rebel resistance, and supposedly fighting along-side Katniss, this makes my violent urges to wrap my hands tightly and irrevocably around her neck more than a little inconvenient for everybody, especially me, the guy who's supposedly loved her for most of his life. What a sap. Yeah, right now I really hate her. Almost as much as I hate myself. I guess what I really hate are the memories I have of Katniss- Even more than I hate the hazy memories of my mom beating me up side the head for burning the bread at our bakery back in our district so long ago, feeling helplessly infuriated to the point of nausea. Mom's little bits of humiliation were nothing when compared with what I suffer with my terrifying, sometimes shameful remembrances that Katniss, aka the Mockingjay, bring to my addled mind. I clench my jaw to keep from screaming obscenities at her, as I look across the dim room to where she is currently huddled with her loyal, rebel lapdogs in our hide-out in a dank basement in the Capitol within spitting distance of the President's Mansion. I almost tremble with loathing as I remember BH Peeta, as in: before hijacking Peeta, fawning and scraping while he declares his undying devotion to the love his life, the girl on fire.

Jolted violently back to the present moment, I see Gale gazing at her with such fucking reverence- just as I used to in those BH Peeta videos I've seen. I watch with slitted eyes as Katniss leans over to shoot Gale, the poor bastard, full of pain medication in order to stitch up the wounds he got from the horrific Capitol Mutts he recently so valiantly fought off to protect her. He seems to have completely forgotten the important detail that she was the one who led him into his current state of injury and almost certain impending death in the first place. It's so easy to forget shit like that around her.

Gale's not the only one with a case of selective memory and hero worship around here. Sickening- all of them falling over themselves for her favor despite the fact that she's led them to be cowering like rats in a basement, if you can call this furry hell that. Blech. Allow me to vomit on their rebel-issue combat boots. What really sucks is the ego-smashing realization that I was this gullible back in the day- in the arena, when I willingly followed her and repeatedly laid down my life for her as blindly as these losers.

So, here I am most likely in the process of following Katniss to my doom yet again, currently huddled in some weird-assed tiger lady's basement waiting for the Capitol's white uniformed guards to rush in and slaughter us all at any moment. One important difference this time though... I tug at the metal restraints they've clasped around my wrists because I can't be trusted, my skin now raw and bleeding. For a few giddy moments, I wish for sweet homicidal release. My hands around Katniss' throat just one more time. She couldn't hurt me so much if she were dead. I'd finally be free like those damn birds she loves so much. Soaring over her. Untouchable. No more pain, no more fear, no more Katniss. No more Peeta.

Twenty minutes later I'm fighting against thinking this even as she comes over to me to check on me and treat my wounds. She bathes the raw skin I've created at my wrists so gently, almost lovingly. It occurs to me for the millionth time that I really am an evil mutt for wanting Katniss dead after all of it.

Ahh... I must have lost myself again in dreaming, because I'm suddenly aware that all is now truly dark and only the not-so quiet hum of some subterranean machinery near our black hiding place can be heard. I have the weird sense that hours or days could have passed, but I have no idea which. The nearest soldier is a cautious distance of at least 4 meters from me and in a cold, dead sleep. All seems still except for the occasional snore that's loud enough to be heard over the mechanical din as everyone sleeps around me. I shudder involuntarily. It's like I'm in the arena again. Ugh. Except she's not snuggled next to me. I'm used to holding her when we sleep in the games. That was our thing. She could be cold, commanding, and cutting to me all day long in said arena, but when sleep came- she was in my arms, soft and clinging to me like a vine. That's how it was. Not now, obviously. The shackles she must have re-clamped around my wrists before she left to settle near Gale sting my raw skin mockingly.

In an effort to stop my destructive train of thought, I tug sharply at my restraints that suspend my arms over my head. I welcome the immediate pain gratefully. It somehow soothes my jealous rage, as I imagine her cuddled against Gale, as she once would have been against me in our arenas of the past. The light rattle of my shackles rubbing against the metal support of the basement steps rouses no one, fortunately. Again, I am glad for the deep, pulsing hum within the muffled room. Who could be awake after the day we've had anyway? We've been going non-stop for at least 24 hours straight, fighting terrors beyond most people's nightmares- pods that wrap you in razor sharp barbed wire or detonate to cut your body in half (Poor Boggs!), not to mention fleeing from the horrifyingly relentless Capitol mutts, so terrifying in their pursuit. Most people would currently be in a welcome state of oblivion that exhaustion brings after the extreme stress of urban combat we faced today ... but not those of us who have been in the games. I prick my ears, straining to hear over the mechanical din. Probably- she's asleep. She should be, yet I sense she may not be. She's like me or even more so in that way. Sleep brings death in an arena. That's why we always slept entwined together, she and I... only safe together. That was my worst mistake.

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Even though alert and almost waiting for it, I startle a little when I hear a faint shuffle to my right, and shift my gaze and position in that direction as best I can in my restraints. I think my tenuous grasp of reality has forsaken me altogether when I see her lithe form moving stealthily towards me in the vague dimness of the shadowy confines of our crypt-like retreat. I smell her first- that heady mix of musk and tangy mint which is unmistakably Katniss. Next, I can feel her warmth next to me, though we aren't touching. My muscles coil in awareness.

Lips feather along my jaw, ghostly in their quest for me ear. This could be one of my more erotic hijack dreams, but I don't care. My blood thrums through my veins at her nearness, not with bitter hatred but with longing desire.

A whisper comes through the dark to me, tickling the skin at my ear, "I can always tell you're awake by your breathing. Why is it I can always hear your breathing?"

"Because you're always listening for it," I murmur huskily, turning my head blindly towards her husky whisper. I sense her soft breath over my lips and lean the small distance to capture her warm lips. Anger and desire war within me in equal measure, as a near silent gasp puffs into my mouth from hers. She tenses as if poised to move back from me, but mysteriously she stops herself.

There is something in this kiss that has never been in any of the countless others we've shared before it. Raw hunger. When I push my tongue past her teeth to deepen the kiss and purposely invade her space to get a rise out of her, I expect her to draw away in offended fury. Instead she makes a soft mewling sound in her throat that I've never heard come from Katniss, as she presses her body against mine. Ohh... Over my head my fists clench in their restraints. I want to touch her so badly, but I can't. I feel helpless and painfully aroused. I press hot, open-mouth kisses along her jaw to her neck.

"Peeta.. I've... missed you so much," she mouths in my ear.

"I've missed me, too," I quip breathlessly before I realize now is not the time for jokes about my mental instability, so I lean toward her, press all of myself against her as I try to find her eyes with mine in the dim light, "I'm here now, Katniss."

A long agonizing pause follows as we stare at each other across the small distance between us in the almost-blackness. I realize I'm taut like one of her bowstrings. Waiting. Watching. Wanting. Always wanting her. Even when I barely know my own name in my hatred of her. I can't seem to summon that hatred now, though.

"Peeta.. I... " my name is torn from her like a soft oath, and her fingers are brushing over my t-shirt covered chest, down my taut abdomen, which contracts at the contact of her fingertips before they stop at the fastening of my trousers. I try to shift towards her hand, which is hovering over my already pulsing arousal. I tilt my head back on my neck slightly, exhaling a breath I didn't even realize I was holding, while those nimble fingers tug my fly downward determinedly. I try to move to help her.

"Yes, my love," I gasp out softly before I can control my response. She tugs my trousers down a little, freeing the evidence of my desire. I so want to hate her at this moment for exposing me thus, but I can't. Even being tortured and brainwashed by those sick bastards in this very Capitol can't stop me wanting her, loving her. Damn. What a sad, pathetic mutt I am.

My self-loathing quickly evaporates when her hands move to cradle me intimately. She whispers, "So many times we slept together- I could feel this pressing into me. It's... so much smoother than I thought it'd be... s-strange... like a thick deer antler, but warm and velvety."

I huff out a soft laugh, incapable of speech as her fingers tighten and loosen over my most sensitive flesh. I'm struggling not to groan aloud. Swallowing convulsively, I finally grit out, "Katniss.. if you keep doing that I'm going to lose control and wake everyone up."

Her hands freeze on me, and I feel her body tense away from me. No! She's misunderstood. I'm not going into a homicidal rage; I'm coming undone with pent-up desire unleashed beneath her strong, supple fingers. I strain against my shackles, pressing my cheek to hers so my lips are at her ear, her hair tickling them, "I.. I mean, what you're doing is making me... Katniss, it feels incredible."

"Better than kissing on the beach in the clock arena?" she asks in a curious whisper.

I feel like she's testing me to see if I remember that night. Looking for the old Peeta. More blood surges to my already painful arousal at my startlingly clear memory of that night. (Thank God the Capitol left me that one!) I actually feel dizzy as I remember holding her on the sand, our bodies tangling together in the moonlight, kissing each other like we would never have to stop.

"That was great, too, but this is 100 times more intense for me," I'm glad the darkness covers the embarrassed flush I feel spreading up my neck and across my face. I'm surprised I have any blood left for blushing, as it all seems to have coursed to my nether-regions.

She pauses, digesting what I just said, before whispering in her terse way, "I'm glad." Then she tightens her grip, moving those deliciously agile fingers over my distended flesh. Oh, fuck. I know my eyes roll back in my head in ecstasy.

"I'm glad." That's all she says. I'm sweating and gasping now. Praying no one is awake to hear my heavy breathing. I know she hears it, but I don't care. That heightens my arousal to almost an unbearable extent in some way.

Leaning over I whisper into her ear harshly, "Oh, how I wish I could make love to you properly. Just once."

Abruptly, she slides her leg over my hip to straddle my lap. "Why shouldn't you? We'll probably all be... gone tomorrow anyway."

"Katniss... like this? Are you sure? What about...?" I must be in one of my brainwashed delusions. This can't be happening. If it is a delusion, I really don't want it to end.

She shifts on my lap, grinding into me, and whispers, "It should be you, Peeta, and I don't think we'll have another chance. Besides, I want to. I need you, Peeta. I think I always have."

I know what I should do, the right thing to do, but I am weak. Looking around feverishly, I note that everyone else is a good distance away and still asleep (or thankfully drugged in Gale's case). Mounds of the weird shopkeeper's stock of furs and pelts are stacked to block us at least partially from view. In all likelihood I'll be dead tomorrow, and haven't I wanted this for as long as I've understood what sex was about? There were nights I held her in my arms while I trembled with wanting, tormented by imaginings of Katniss beneath me making soft sounds of pleasure as I drove into her.

I grit my teeth and move to speak close to her ear, "Help me. I want this to be good for you, too."

"I can't imagine it being otherwise, if it's with you, Peeta," I hear the grin in her voice, "You're not the only one who's wanted this, you know."

Planting her knees on the floor between my splayed legs, she raises herself to pull her pants down her hips and beyond. I seize the opportunity to lean into her breasts, which are directly before my face. I place warm, damp kisses there through the thin fabric of her shirt. I feel her breathing quicken as I press my open mouth to her chest.

She reaches slowly over our heads, trailing both her hands up my mostly bare arms, to clasp her hands over my manacled ones, "I should unlock you," she muses.

"No," I respond immediately, "If there's even a small chance I'll... hurt you, I don't want to risk it. Intense emotions sometimes trigger the flashbacks."

She nods regretfully before she lowers her body down on mine, straddling my hips once again to settle her now bare, hot core against my straining member. I can feel the slick fluids of her arousal against the sensitive skin of my pulsing cock. It's just as well I can't touch her as I'd like, because this would be over in less than a minute for me, if I could. Even restrained, I don't think I'll last very long.

She pauses with me at her soft, moist entrance for a few moments. This is crazy. More crazy than everything else, that is. Craning my neck so my mouth is at her collarbone, I gently suck there for a moment before whispering up at her as she hovers above me, "Katniss... are you sure this is what you want? We can stop."

In answer to my question, she leans back a little and tugs up the light shirt she had been sleeping in to bare her breasts to me. The pale globes glow temptingly in what little light there is. I duck my head to suckle and kiss them reverently. Her hips begin to undulate against my pelvis, her wet folds brushing up and down the length of me. I have to bite my inner-cheek hard to keep from crying out. We must be very quiet.

She leans down to capture my mouth in a scorching kiss, her tongue pushing between my lips, just as she lifts herself up and then back downward with aching slowness to impale herself on my shaft. I feel her tightness stretching to take me. Simultaneously, we gasp brokenly into each others mouths. She stills with her warm heat surrounding me for several long agonizing seconds, as if waiting for her body to adjust to my invasion. I wonder if she feels any pain and forcefully push away the maddening thought that she might have done this before with … him. I fight back against the stinging pain and fury that slice through me at that thought, ordering myself to hold it together. Whatever came before, whatever comes after, I want this, I want her- always.

"Alright?" I ask in a strangled whisper against her lips. At this point if she wants to stop, I just might expire right here and now before the Capitol ever gets its hands on me.

Bracing her hands on my shoulders, she nods slowly, almost absently, before shifting her weight to take me even deeper into her silken depths. The feeling is indescribable. It's almost like the over-whelming effects of the trackerjacker stings in the arena but obviously so much more pleasant. I close my eyes, and I see brilliant oranges and reds exploding behind my eyelids as she begins to move over me, slowly without much rhythm at first. My body is straining under my need to touch her.

Finally forcing my eyes open, I look up at her silhouette shifting slowly in the darkness above me. I am filled with so many emotions: desire, love, regret. This could have been our life. Making love every night with no fear of what could happen next. I'm jostled out of my musings by a soft drop of warm moisture hitting my cheek and trailing down my face to the corner of my lips. It has a salty taste. I must be crying. How mortifying, but then- she's seen me cry before. Then I hear a little sniffle and realize that it was her tears I felt first.

I seriously regret not letting her unshackle me earlier. All I want is to wrap myself around her and hold her while she cries. I press my chest to hers and murmur soft, nonsensical noises against her lips and try to pour all my feelings for her into our melting kisses while I thrust my hips up into hers. In the arenas, we were always pretty good at communicating without words, and this time is no different. My desperate movements seem to have their intended effect. She slows her pace and gently takes my face between her hands, kissing me deeply. I feel as though my soul is escaping through my lips to take up residence in her, and I'm okay with that.

I know I can't hold on much longer with her warm, heated friction surrounding me. I can feel the final pressure building just as her walls engulf my shaft in delicious tremors. I can feel every muscle in her moist depths contracting around me as she throws her head back in a silent scream. Yes! At last! I am thrust into blissful oblivion, my seed spilling into her, combining with her own juices in the slippery, erotic cocktail of our loving.

"Peeta, if we die tomorrow I just needed you to know... that I wanted you. Finally, I can't deny it. This wasn't for the sponsors or Haymitch or the Capitol. It was for me and... and for you. Oh, you know I'm no good at this sort of thing," she starts to move away.

"No! Don't go. Not yet. Please... I... I wanted you, too. I never stopped," every part of me is straining to get to her, to hold her close, though she's still within inches of me, her body still clasped around me loosely, as if forgotten.

"I don't believe you- not after what happened when you woke up in 13 and since then," she mutters in a flat voice. I wish I could see her face more clearly. It's usually hard to read her expressions, but I've had lots of practice. The murkiness prevents me, though. I sigh helplessly.

"Don't you see? That was the real torture, Katniss. My hands around your throat, choking the life out of you, but all the while still loving you. I hated that I did that. I will live with the regret of that until the day I die, which I hope is soon," I finish bitterly.

"Don't say that!" she rasps out and moves to wrap her arms around me and tuck her face into my neck just like she used to in the arena. "You were... are the good one, the noble one. If anyone should have been the Mockingjay, it's you, Peeta."

"Ah, but I never had your conviction, sweetheart," I evoke Haymitch's trademark endearment, as I kiss Katniss' hair reverently and grin like an idiot into the darkness.

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The hum of the nearby machines is what I hear next. I am alone as I jolt upright, gasping breathlessly, my shackles clink softly against the metal stair support I'm chained to. I have no idea what time it is. I sense other rebel soldiers still sleeping some distance from me in the dark basement room. My mind spins and whirls wildly as images of … Katniss coming to me in the night and making sweet love to my broken, beaten, chained body flash through all the other noise in my head. Real or not real?


So... anyone know the answer to Peeta's last question? Would you like to know? I have some ideas for where this could go from here. Anyone? Reviews? Is anyone out there?